Google plan to double their fleet of self-driving vehicles through a collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The company plans an initial addition of about 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, and they hope the first few will be on the road by the end of 2016.
Google has expanded its testing program to a total of four U.S. cities over the last several months, and they plan to add more self-driving vehicles to their fleet through their collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The company claims they plan to more than double their fleet with the initial addition of about 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, and they hope the first few will be on the road by the end of 2016.
This collaboration with FCA is the first time they have worked directly with an automaker to create their vehicles. FCA will design the minivans to facilitate Google the installation of their self-driving systems, including the computers that hold their self-driving software, and the sensors that enable their software to see what’s on the road around the vehicle. The minivan design also gives them an opportunity to test a larger vehicle that could be easier for passengers to enter and exit, particularly with features like hands-free sliding doors.
In the coming months, the Google team will collaborate closely with FCA engineers. The company claims this experience will help both teams better understand how to create a fully self-driving car that can take you from A to B with the touch of a button. They believe collaborations like these are an important part of realizing the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety and make transportation more accessible for millions of people.